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"Point Break - Volume I" (SideCho Records; 2002)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

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Clocking in at more than 72 minutes, the "Point Break - Volume 1" compilation features 18 tracks from bands that vary from Swedish metal (In Flames, Soilwork) to American hardcore (Will Haven, Thrice) to Christian metal (Zao, Living Sacrifice) to modern emo-core (The Beautiful Mistake, Drowningman) to American metal giants (Shadows Fall, Skinlab).

I'll admit is was weird to hear some of my favorite bands (like In Flames, Soilwork, Meshuggah, and Shadows Fall) wrapped around bands I'd never heard (like Thrice, Avenged Sevenfold, and Zao). My love for bands like In Flames, Soilwork, Meshuggah, and Shadows Fall isn't news to regular Rough Edge readers, but I found it interesting to hear these bands on a compilation such as this.

However, my unfamiliarity with bands like The Beautiful Mistake, Zao, and American Nothing really left me wondering how much left there is for me to discover in extreme music. Apparently I still have quite a lot to discover. While it was bands like Thrice, Avenged Sevenfold, Converge, American Nothing, Ensign, Neck, and Stretch Arm Strong that turned my ears to a new sound it was the bands Zao and The Beautiful Mistake that really caught my attention.

Zao, a band that is certainly to appeal to the likes of melodic Swedish metal, has sadly recently disbanded, but "Angel Without Wings" is an infectious nugget of aggression and beauty wrapped up in a taut package. And don't let the fact that Zao is a Christian band deter you from checking them out.

The other band that caught me by surprise was The Beautiful Mistake. The Beautiful Mistake meld metal, hardcore, emo, and alternative into a fully realized package. The abrasive vocals switch off well with the clean vocals and the big vocal hooks match well with the metallic yet somehow emo-core based music that is forward-moving and forward-thinking at all times. It's rare that I am impressed after hearing a song once = that's the case with The Beautiful Mistake's "Anonymous Vs. California."

It's my guess that since this record was available exclusively in the Hot Topic clothing chain before it was available in wide release that most of the folks that have bought the "Point Break - Volume 1" compilation were familiar with bands like Avenged Sevenfold and The Beautiful Mistake, but not familiar with the likes of In Flames or Soilwork. For me, the compilation did the exact opposite: I am completely familiar with the latest wave of Swedish metal, but American hardcore and emo-core bands have remained largely unknown to me. Well, consider me enlightened.

The complete track listing is as follows:

"Deadworld" by Shadows Falls
"Betrayal Is A Symptom" by Thrice
"Follow The Hollow" by Soilwork
"Angel Without Wings" by Zao
"Slave The Way" by Skinlab
"Turn The Other Way" by Avenged Sevenfold
"Symbiotic" by Living Sacrifice
"Broken Vow" by Converge
"Divide My Destiny" by God Forbid
"AM/PM" by American Nothing
"New Millennium Cyanide Christ" by Meshuggah
"Black Clouds Vs. Silver Linings" by Ensign
"Pinball Map" by In Flames
"Anonymous Vs. California" by The Beautiful Mistake
"The Thing That Should Not Be" by Neck
"The More I Get To Know You The Less I Like You" by Drowningman
"Carpe Diem" by Will Haven
"For The Record" by Stretch Arm Strong

"Point Blank Volume 1" is a thoroughly enjoyable listen and, no matter your preferred styles of heavy music, you are sure to have a couple of new favorite bands after hearing this compilation.

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Rating Guide:

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) A classic. This record will kick your ass.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) So-so. You've heard better.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

restinks.jpg (954 bytes) Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04 Oct 2018 19:54:50 -0400.